Chess Without Boundaries

Jan 15, 2015, 6:35 AM |

This is my first blog post and I am going to chronicle my attempts to teach chess to seven, grade 9 students at a Community school here in Mumbai who have only had minimal exposure to Chess before. 

Before I dive into the details of these attempts, here's some information about me. My name is Aayush Chadha, I am a grade 11 student and have been playing chess actively for nearly a year and a half now. I have a FIDE rating of 1299 in the rapid chess format and am now preparing to acquire my classical rating. My rating is 1661 in the Standard Format and 1304 in the Blitz format (Bullet is quite pathetic). The prime reasons I chose to teach chess is because:

1) I wanted to pass on the excitement of the game to people who haven't felt it before. 

2) The IBDP curriculum requires some sort of community service and chess just became a well rounded activity because it covers all three aspects of the CAS requirements.

How did the idea of teaching chess come up?

Early on, when I had just started learning chess, I used to go to my coach's house to practice and play games. Sometimes, he used to ask me to guide the beginners and teach them the basics. After seeing my efforts with one such beginner, my coach remarked that I have quite a knack for teaching. This is where the idea was implanted in my head and when I took up the IB course, it fully materialised. What sets this apart is the fact that there are almost no such endeavours by any coach/player to take some time and teach these underprivileged kids the beautiful game of chess. 

Now I take two hours out of my scehdule every week, travel to a suburban municipal school adopted by a local NGO named Aseema and teach the game to seven kids.

Two weeks have passed since I started this activity. Below is a quick summary of what was done in those weeks.

Week One:

I started out with getting the basics in the right place. So the class was devoted to teaching the piece values, board layout, chess notation. This was followed by a worksheet on the aforementioned concepts which I corrected and gave to them next week. After the worksheet, I gave them an overview of openings. The emphasis lay on development, king safety and then attack (though nothing major was covered here). We discussed tactics in the middle game next, where I introduced them to the common tactical motifs of pins, skewers, knight forks, back ranks, double attacks, discovered attacks, discovered checks. Here I solved an OTB puzzle with them. I didn't introduce many end game prinicples to them since I feel they are rather uninitiated for it. The week ended with a quick recap on these concepts and the instruction of recording every chess game they play hereafter.

Week Two:

Week two was planned after some input from their teacher, who wanted them to be able to play local tournaments. It started with explaining to them the rules of tournament play and some general advice, moved on to drawing patterns (stalemates, perpetuals, 50 move rule) and finally returned to tactics once again, where I set them four positions as homework after discussions on some demonstration positions.


I shall now end here, I plan to write a weekly blog detailing my experiences. Any inputs and/or criticism is welcome. Additionally, if anyone wants to help me out, that can be worked out too, just drop me a message.